Just let that sink in.
20 years since my life has changed so drastically.
20 years, but does it even feel like 20 years ago?
It does feel different. Different from what; it seems like this is just something that happened to me. Something that happened long ago. Like I grew into it. or grew from it, since I technically am older now than I was when I first got into that car accident.
It feels different, but I am still me. The car accident that left me with a TBI is just something that happened to me. Move on, right?
Struggling through high school…hey I made it though, right? only 1 year late
Going to LONGWOOD college, only 3 years post accident, 3 hours away from everyone I knew- my support system- living on my OWN (which was a big deal for me, concentrating so hard on rehabilitation)
I graduated! With a degree in Therapeutic Recreation, my hospital stay and rehab turned out to be a good thing, in the sense that it gave me a purpose
Working at Fairfax Nursing Center for 9 years 2005-14
meeting a great man, Matt Karst 12/06, and married 09/20/08
Buying a townhouse in Burke Center in 2012
writing since 2014
Involved at Messiah United Methodist Church; organizing the Prayer Shawl Ministry, various Bible studies, Vacation Bible school, helping with a weeekly middle school/high school Girls’ group, co-leading a Sunday school class
Longwood Alumni blogger
babysitter & caregiver
Fairfax Inova Trauma Support Network volunteer
Creating traumatic brain injury awareness
I am here for a purpose. A purpose to bring awareness to the silent epidemic of a hidden illness. Hidden to the unknowing eye, but we still feel the effects. Everyday, we know that there is something different than before, or something that people without a brain injury don’t experience the symptoms. The symptoms do not always need to be a physical injury or something that you can see, but the symptoms are still lasting. My physical disabilities have gotten much better, though my balance is not perfect, nor is my voice, fine motor control, anxiety and levels of exhaustion.
Remember how far you have come
“Brain injury is unpredictable in its consequences. Brain injury affects who we are, the way we think, act, and feel. It can change everything about us in a matter of seconds. The most important things to remember:
• A person with a brain injury is a person first
• No two brain injuries are exactly the same
• The effects of a brain injury are complex and vary greatly from person to person
• The effects of a brain injury depend on such factors as cause, location, and severity”
The Brain Injury Association of America website
What am I doing with all my time? Yes, the time that I’m supposed to be “working”
The ADD that I’ve acquired from my traumatic brain injury makes it very difficult to focus. I’m wasting time away getting distracted with texts, laundry or PLANNERS -my guilty pleasure. I just love all of the fun effective ways to make a planner functional AND pretty. A notebook that you are proud to carry around in your purse telling of appointments or just to take notes- a planner can contain whatever you want it to; how you want it. That’s why I’m trying like using a good ol’ (fashionably orange) blank notebook like the one I bought on Amazon.
Instead of getting to work writing in it or working on completing my book (that is taking FOREVER)
It’s been nearly a month since I have bought it, and it now contains some quotes that I’d like to remember, a meal dinner planner for the month, some prayer requests, and some other topics to include in the book on which I am currently working.
Can there be such a thing as having too many journals?
I have a journal for all of my appointments, and TO-DOs [compact enough to stick in a purse and carry around with me]
Another for doodles, and things I’d like to remember [the orange one]
- a big one, that stays at my workplace at home, that’s kind of like an end of the day reflection of what happened during the day; also containing a box for gratitude for the day
I can’t lie, the cover did have something incredible weight when deciding to purchase it
Just look at ‘Life is beautiful’ in french
a “work” notebook, for containing TBI notes, the notes taken in support group meetings or containing information about my volunteer work at Fairfax hospital
This notebook just has blank pages in it, some subject dividers, and seems like it would really be good for a project noteboook- although thus far I’ve used it as a food planner, it’s so compact and easy to fit into a purse when going to the store- easy to write down recipes at when at the grocery store-there it is all contained nicely. Maybe I need to find another journal for more studious subjects… The good thing is that this journal has removable pages, so they are easily transferred
AM i REALLY CONCERNING MYSELF TOO HARD WITH THIS?
[PLEASE COMMENT, I WOULD LOVE TO KNOW!]
WHY MELISSA IS MY HERO
She actually did it! She actually wrote a book- she didn’t just talk about it! Accomplishing her dreams…setting plausible goals…and deadlines…THAT IS WHAT I HAVE STARTED DOING- my new goal for the end of May is to have the rest of ‘my’ account completed.
…And now I better get to finish reading it! It’s a great book, especially for me, who is a little without direction…
But at least I know what to do, after I finish writing/ babysitting/ caregiving- I am a great caregiver and I plan to return to that once I am done with my other responsibilities. Although as my friend reminds me, I do have many other responsibilities other than working in a traditional day to day job (which is extremely stressful). I am very active at my church,
I am a writer, I am a TBI advocate, I am a wife, I am a babysitter and caregiver, a mother to a precious fur baby, CHAZZ!